A member congregation of the
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
St. Andrew Lutheran Church
307 3rd Avenue (PO Box 294)

Van Horne, Iowa 52346

(319) 228-8325
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SOLA GRATIA
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SOLA SCRIPTURA
Divine Service
The word worship is defined as, “reverent honor and homage paid to God.” This adoration is usually done with ceremonies and rites. The usual meaning of this word, however can lead us astray. There is much about this meaning that is good. The Triune God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) is worthy of honor and homage. However, in many churches today, the main direction in worship is from the worshipper to the worshipped. In other words, the direction is from man to God, which makes the activity ours and centered on what we do. Such a view is the direct opposite to the Lutheran understanding of worship.
 
Worship, from the beginning in the Tabernacle and later the Temple found in the Old Testament, was always about God coming to his people. It begins with God. It has its foundations and source from God. It is God speaking and we listen. Worship begins with God’s word, continues with God’s word, and ends with God’s word. Today, God, through his Word and gifts (Baptism, Communion, and Absolution), comes to us. The rhythm of our worship is from God to us and then from us to God.
 
Such an understanding of worship is quite different from the dictionary definition of the word. It is for that reason that the Lutheran Church has historically shown a preference for the word service in place of the word worship. Sunday morning is called the Divine Service. In the Divine Service, the divine (God) comes to us. He gives us his Words and Sacraments. Only then do we respond in our thanksgiving and praise.
 
The Apostle St. Paul writes that “We preach Christ crucified.” (1 Cor. 1:23) The Divine Service is Christocentric (Christ-centered) and not the man-centered activity usually defined as worship. The Divine Service does not have gimmicks or current fads and trends, which are here today and gone tomorrow. The truths found in the Divine Service are timeless and eternal. We use the historic One-Year lectionary so that we “proclaim to you the whole will of God.” (Acts 20:27)
 
Most of the words found in the Divine Service are directly from the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) or are indirectly from the Scriptures (such as the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds). God speaks to us through His Word and we speak back to Him what He has given us!
 
Some of the elements of the Divine Service reach all the way back over 3000 years to early Hebrew worship in the Tabernacle and the Temple. (Some examples are the use of the Psalter (Psalms), Old Testament readings, the Aaronic Benediction, etc.) This is not to say that we do things exactly like the Old Testament or even early New Testament worship, but rather we are connected to the worship and practices of God’s people in all places and throughout all time.
 
Here at St. Andrew we use one of the five (5) Divine Services found in the Lutheran Service Book (Hymnal). Occasionally we may use other traditional liturgical services such as Matins, Morning Prayer, or the Service of Prayer and Preaching as found in the Lutheran Service Book.
 
The Divine Service is timeless and eternal. It is not flashy or full of “entertainment.” In the Divine Service you will find the things that sustained the first Christians, namely, the simple Word and Sacraments. “They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42) The Divine Service is reverent, respectful, dignified, and sacred (set apart). We enter His sanctuary and come before a Holy and righteous God as sinners in need of His forgiveness. And “If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9) We invite you to receive God’s forgiveness here at St. Andrew in His Divine Service.

+Soli Deo Gloria+
 
(To God alone be the Glory)

   

Last update: 10 May 2017